When should I light a mourner's candle
in remembrance of my marriage:
the date he proposed, or the date
we were wed, or the date we agreed
we were through? I choose the date
when we sat before witnesses
and poured wine from the silver goblet
into separate cups, the date when we wrote
"I release you," when we took scissors
and cut deep, severing.
My year of mourning is ending, but
what will be different tomorrow? The world
continues, ordinary and real:
call the electrician, don't forget milk,
watch another hurricane slam the coast.
And relationships persist. I carry
eighteen years of marriage in my bones.
How I shaped myself to his contours.
How we failed each other.
The candle flickers in its glass.
We pinched the flame of the marriage.
What burns now is memory: this first year
unpartnered, unwitnessed, unaccompanied
transformed into a thin, wavering light.
The candle goes out. I still shine.
Related: A ritual for ending a marriage, 2016